The public folder was one of those features that set the file sync and management service Dropbox apart from other services of its kind.
The company stopped the creation of public folders for new users in 2012, and converted the public folder for new users to a private one in March 2016 for all free Dropbox users.
Dropbox disabled the option to share links to render HTML content in a web browser furthermore for free users on October 3, 2016.
This left Pro and Business users with access to the public folder. According to a support page on the Dropbox Help Center site, this will no longer be the case come September 1, 2017.
Dropbox Pro and Business users: Beginning September 1, 2017, you can no longer render HTML content and the Public folder and its sharing functionality will be disabled.
A discussion thread on the official Dropbox forum highlights some of the issues that the change causes for paying customers of Dropbox.
Users used the public storage in the past as a place to store files that they linked to or embedded from other web properties. A common theme is the embedding of images stored in the public folder in forums and on websites.
The main issue for these Dropbox customers is that these links will no longer work. Embedded images or files will show an error, and users who accessed the resources previously cannot do so anymore.
Dropbox customer Alexander describes the issue in the following way:
I absolutely agree with the previous commenters. A lot of people used public links to post images to forums, mostly small ones, which do not provide built-in storage for images and attachments.
On our local community forum I've posted hundreds of such images and advised other users to use Dropbox for this purpose as well. This content is still useful and the loss of it will be a major problem for all our users.
The main issue for customers of the service who used public folders in the way is that all their links and embeds will stop working when the change goes live.
Dropbox replaced it with a link creation feature instead which pro and business users can make use of. Old links don't get converted however into public links so that users would have to make them public again individually, and replace the current link on the target site as well.
The latter may not always be possible, the former is a huge nuisance and time consuming.
Now You: Are you affected by the change?
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